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Charles Duhigg

Award-winning journalist and media commentator

  • About Charles Duhigg

    Charles Duhigg was awarded the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting as a member of The New York Times staff for the series “The iEconomy,” which examined Apple’s manufacturing practices overseas and what those practices can tell us about the American economy. Duhigg is also the winner of the National Academies of Sciences, National Journalism, and George Polk awards, and a frequent contributor to television and radio, including PBS NewsHour, Frontline, Dr. Oz, This American Life and various programs on CNBC and NPR. He is a graduate of the Harvard Business School and Yale College.

    Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business has spent over a year on the New York Times bestseller list. The book contains specific strategies that can transform lives and workplaces. It details scientific studies on boosting willpower, replacing bad habits, and revolutionizing companies’ productivity. Duhigg’s latest book, Smarter, Faster, Better (March 2016), applies the same relentless curiosity, deep reporting, and rich storytelling of The Power of Habit to explore the science of productivity. Duhigg illustrates his concept with compelling case studies from the U.S. Marine Corps, the FBI, and the Disney Animation team behind Frozen, among many others.

    Duhigg’s inventive and practical books and his accomplishments as an investigative reporter for The New York Times have made him an in-demand speaker for organizations such as the UCLA School of Management, M.I.T., The Johnson Foundation and the Pasadena Art and Science Festival. Full of compelling narratives, Duhigg’s lectures draw on insights from the likes of Howard Schultz (Starbucks CEO), Tony Dungy (Super Bowl-winning football coach), and Bob Bowman (coach of Olympic legend Michael Phelps).

  • Speaking Topics

    The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business

    Productivity is often measured by the speed at which we tackle our to-do lists. Real productivity, however, comes from thinking differently: Managing how we identify goals, construct teams, direct our focus and make decisions. In this lecture, Charles Duhigg looks at what separates the merely busy from the genuinely productive by exploring eight key critical concepts. With case studies from U.S. Marine Corps boot camp, the making of Disney’s Frozen, and how Google sought to build the perfect team, Duhigg explains how people and companies become smarter, faster and better.

    Agile Management & Commitment Cultures

    Drawing on in-depth research, Charles Duhigg looks at two fundamental approaches to managing others: Decentralizing decision-making and creating commitment cultures based on trust. By looking at how the FBI used the Toyota Production System to solve a kidnapping case, Duhigg describes what happens when decision-making is transferred to those closest to the problem, with results sure to astound companies from any industry.

    Idea Brokers and Creative Desperation—Boosting the Creative Process

    Accelerating innovation is a key goal for almost any company. But innovating on a deadline can be torturous—unless you understand how creativity works. In this fascinating lecture, Charles Duhigg looks at the making of Disney’s Frozen, a film on the brink of collapse until one small shift helped spur a creative breakthrough that led to one of the highest grossing movies in history. With multiple case studies, Duhigg explains that improving the creative process relies on intellectual middlemen—or ‘idea brokers’—who help us establish the right creative tensions, see old ideas in new ways, and ensure that the thrill of breakthrough doesn’t blind us to better alternatives.

    The Power of Habit

    In this keynote lecture, Charles Duhigg begins by exploring the science of habit formation, illustrating why we do what we do and how we can change it. Duhigg explains why the most powerful habits have emotional cores, and how tweaking even one habit can have staggering effects. Duhigg draws from a number of current case studies—including the success of Febreze, how Starbucks trains employees in willpower habits, how organizational habits contributed to a tragic subway fire, and others—customizing them to his specific audience.

    Big Data

    Charles Duhigg discovered that Target, using Big Data, built a predictive model so precise it could tell when shoppers were pregnant—sometimes, even before their parents knew. Increasingly, algorithms and data drive business decisions. At the heart of these models is a basic question: why do customers habitually return to certain products and services? And how can companies influence those choices? Drawing on stories from multiple industries, Duhigg delivers riveting insights into how companies predict and control habits and ultimately know what customers want before they themselves do.

  • Video

  • Praise for Charles Duhigg

    I can’t express what a hit Charles’ presentation was! Our survey that we conducted was 5 stars across the board. I want to mention to you that Charles was the most professional and kindest speaker we have worked with.

    Lockton Retirement Services

    “Someone told me that in their 13 years at Amex, this was the best guest speaker they’d ever heard. We were so pleased with the event—from our planning and interactions with PRHSB, through Charles Duhigg’s speaking engagement here—and with the impact he will continue to have on the organization.”

    American Express

    The session was fantastic! Our attendees were still talking about it this morning. Many were surprised that a reporter could be such a natural speaker!  He was the best I have ever worked with. And I’ve been doing this a long time. He called me yesterday and we talked for quite a bit. He really took the time to understand who he was going to talk to and because of that was really able to connect with our attendees. It made an impact. It has been great to hear people talking about their very different take aways. People were really able to pick up on the cues (ha!) that mattered for their particular profession. Which is hard to do considering that he wasn’t talking to a room full of just attorneys or just therapists.  And the book signing went well. We sold out of books!!!  Thanks so much. It has been a pleasure every step of the way

    Family Firm Institute

    My team and I really enjoyed his presentation. He is a phenomenal speaker and was able to captivate the Bloomberg audience. His passion for the topic really translates into the audience and everyone picked up on his enthusiasm. I really like the way the prezi complemented his speaking style. I was a little worried that there might be too much prezi and not enough Charles but I was wrong—it was the perfect balance.


    Praise for Smarter Faster Better

    Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Duhigg follows up his bestselling The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business (2012) with a revealing, brightly written exploration of the ways in which successful people make the right choices necessary to succeed with less effort. Drawing on research studies and innumerable interviews with neurologists, business people, government leaders, and psychologists, the author identifies a series of key ideas that help expand productivity. In absorbing stories from every corner of life, he shows how these ideas explain why some people get so much done. Each chapter offers a remarkable blend of anecdotes and science illustrating concepts that clearly have much to offer individuals and companies striving for greater productivity.

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

    Charles Duhigg has a gift for asking just the right question, and then igniting the same curiosity in the rest of us. In Smarter Faster Better he finds provocative answers to a riddle of our age: how to become more productive (by two times, or even ten times) and less busy, how to be more effective in the world and more in control of our lives. Duhigg has rendered, yet again, a great service with his sharp, lucid prose.

    Jim Collins, author of Good to Great

    As he did in The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg melds cutting-edge science, deep reporting, and wide-ranging stories to give us a fuller, more human way of thinking about how productivity actually happens. He manages to reframe an entire cultural conversation: Being productive isn’t only about the day-to-day and to-do lists. It’s about seeing our lives as a series of choices, and learning that we have power over how we think about the world.

    Susan Cain, author of Quiet

    Praise for The Power of Habit

    Few [books] become essential manuals for business and living. The Power of Habit is an exception. Charles Duhigg not only explains how habits are formed but how to kick bad ones and hang on to the good.

    Financial Times

    Entertaining . . . enjoyable . . . fascinating . . . a serious look at the science of habit formation and change.

    The New York Times Book Review
  • Books by Charles Duhigg

  • Media About Charles Duhigg

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